- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he will not call Attorney General William P. Barr to testify over the Justice Department’s reversal of an earlier stiff sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate.

“He’ll come in as part of oversight, but we’re not going to call him based on this,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, told reporters.

Mr. Graham’s comments come as Democrats on the committee have ramped up calls for the attorney general to explain why his office overruled the decision of federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

The panel’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, on Wednesday implored Mr. Graham to launch an investigation into the matter.

“I call on the chairman to open an investigation and hold hearings to get to the bottom of this,” she said on the Senate floor. “I think it’s appropriate for our committee to take a look. To the best of my knowledge, this has never happened before. I believe it’s serious. If it’s without precedent and that’s proven, we really need to take a good look at it.”

Other Democrats on the committee also demanded hearings.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat and a member of the committee, tweeted Tuesday that Mr. Barr “must testify under oath” before the panel.

“Barr was confirmed as AG one year ago this week and must appear before Congress for an oversight hearing to answer questions about his repeated intervention in Justice Department investigations, apparently to benefit the President,” he added.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, a top Democrat on the committee, sent a letter to Mr. Graham on Tuesday demanding testimony from Mr. Barr.

Federal prosecutors initially requested that Stone receive between seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department reversed its stance and asked the court to sentence Stone to “far less” than the prosecutors recommended a day earlier.

Four prosecutors on the Stone case resigned seemingly in protest of the decision.

The change has placed Mr. Barr in the middle of a political firestorm with some Democrats alleging he stepped in to do a political favor for President Trump.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump praised his attorney general for “taking charge” of the case against Stone, raising fresh scrutiny about Mr. Barr’s involvement in the case.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” the president tweeted.

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